Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Definition of Nobility and the Power of Love

I grew up on stories of knights and heroes, which means I grew up believing that nobility was a desirable quality.  I still believe that aspiring to a code of ethical and moral nobility is a good thing.  But I'll admit that the armour has become a little tarnished as I've gotten older as I noticed a great many characters used "nobility" as an excuse to push people away.

Classic example: the superhero who doesn't want those around him or her to be hurt.  So they contrive to push them away by any means necessary: wiping their memories, pretending to be a jerk, faking their deaths or sometimes going back in time to rewrite the past (you'd be surprised how often that's actually an option).

Perhaps it's the romantic side of me, but that just stinks of lack of commitment.  I understand and sympathize with the "I'll never forgive myself if <insert name here> gets hurt" impulse.  I can even understand the need to keep certain heroes on the tragic side (Batman is never as much fun when he's happy).

Wanting to avoid making someone a target is laudable, but it's not a good enough reason not to try for a relationship.  Especially since it almost always seems to backfire, because the key issue (the hero/heroine caring about that person) is already a factor.  The bad guys always figure out that a hero is unusually quick to respond to a particular character being in danger.

Being collateral damage in a superpowered feud is tragic, true.  But to me, it's far more tragic that two people in love will live out their lives never having the opportunity to express it to one another.  To a romance writer, it darn near verges on heresy.  Call me naïve if you will, but I believe love makes people stronger.  It makes them want to live up to the best side of themselves, the side their lover sees.  It gives them a reason to fight when everything else has been taken away.  And it makes everything else in their life a little easier to bear.

In the end, withdrawing to protect someone is a short-sighted strategy.  Which is why I chose an older character to challenge it.  Someone with a hearty helping of cynicism, willing to call a copout what it is.  Someone who knows that the number of tomorrows are limited and joy is too precious a gift to return because it might someday break.   

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